TWILIGHT ZONE

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People laughed on their balconies in the heart of Prypiat
As the sweet April breeze shook the birch trees and pines 
A model Soviet city in the shadows of a power plant
With parks, malls and swimming halls, roses and vines
An experiment failed and all control rods were dropped 
But the runaway chain reaction could not be stopped
Two explosions, dying light, and hissing blue steam 
Radiation spewed into the night sky like a laser beam
When the lurid light of dawn fell on reactor block four
Deep in the rubble they found the burning graphite core
The heroes of the hour put out the flames and cleared the roof
But their wounds never healed and today they lie alone
Sealed in zinc-lined coffins under moss-covered stones
In the silence of the TWILIGHT ZONE

Crackling loudspeakers blared at unsuspecting villagers
As the crumbling empire veiled its secrets and taboos
Hooded soldiers ordered families to line up for the buses
Evil winds carried fallout through Ukraine and Belarus
Puddles tinged yellow-green from the radioactive rains
As rumors spread through Kiev children surged to the trains
Behind the ruined reactor the trees glowed crimson red
They were bulldozed and buried in the land of the dead
The markets were flooded with contaminated goods
Tainted mushrooms and berries from Polysian woods
Helicopters circled and dosimeters went off-scale
Gates of hell had been opened, evil seeds had been sown
Behind barbed wire, barricades, and emergency cones
In the chaos of the TWILIGHT ZONE 

Time has stood still in the ring around Chernobyl 
While symbols and slogans were laid to rest 
As promises rang hollow and people questioned the past
They drew the curtain and opened the window to the west
And lived every day like it was their last 

Deadly dust and molten lava filled the steel-frame sarcophagus 
Ghostly lights gleamed like demon eyes from skeleton towers
Transformers and cranes loomed in the haze of pollutants
Gutted trucks and tanks rusted in fields of wild flowers
Hotels, squares and stadiums filled with saplings and weeds
Submerged barges lined the river among hyacinths and reeds
Heard the stories and legends legends of grotesque mutations
Pale birds, translucent butterflies, and unnatural vegetation 
The melancholy highways were strewn with dolomite sand 
Age-old farmers on tractors plowed their grandfather's land 
The devil's wheel turned in the abandoned park
Old re-settlers reaped the harvest in a world of their own 
Collecting cesium in their flesh, and strontium in their bones
In the half-life of the TWILIGHT ZONE

2013 Alex Schaetzing. All Rights Reserved.